“The Thinning” takes place in a post-apocalyptic future where population control is dictated by a high-school aptitude test. When two students (Paul and List) discover the test is smoke and mirrors hiding a larger conspiracy, they must fight the system to expose it and take it down.
The movie, set for 2016 release on digital outlets, is the industry’s latest gambit to harness the power of talent with gigantic digital fanbases to provide built-in marketing and promotion.
Paul and List have about 26 million combined social-media followers. Paul has more than 16 million followers, including 8.7 million on Twitter’s Vine and 5.2 million on Facebook, and his videos have generated more than 1 billion views in the past three months alone. List, who currently stars in Disney Channel’s “Bunk’d” (a spinoff of “Jessie”) has over 10 million followers across social platforms.
Production on “The Thinning” is set to begin later this month. Legendary will distribute “The Thinning” direct to consumers via digital sell-through and video-on-demand services — a first for Legendary Digital, which plans to produce and acquire rights to more digital films and series for direct-to-consumer distribution in 2016.
Michael Gallagher will direct “The Thinning,” scripted by Gallagher and Steve Greene. Gallagher, Greene and producing partner Jana Winternitz were the winners of Legendary’s “House of Horrors” short-film program, a joint initiative launched with YouTube Spaces last year to identify emerging creative talent, picked from more than 150 subsmissions. Gallagher and Winternitz will produce alongside partner Michael Wormser through their Cinemand label along with content studio Kids at Play. Kids at Play’s Amy Laslett and Jason Berger will also serve as exec producers.
“The key to any great project is great material, no matter how that content is distributed,” said Greg Siegel, Legendary Digital Media’s senior VP of development and production. “Michael Gallagher and Steve Greene have created a wholly original world with incredibly compelling characters that Logan and Peyton’s audiences will love seeing them bring to life.”
Legendary’s other digital projects include series “Electra Woman & Dyna Girl” starring YouTube’s Grace Helbig and Hannah Hart, produced with Fullscreen, as well as the acquisition of distribution rights to feature-length horror thriller “Dead Rising: Watchtower” for Crackle earlier this year. Crackle has ordered a sequel, slated to debut on the streaming service in 2016.
In addition, Legendary Digital recently announced a partnership with YouTube star Joey Graceffa for the second season of young-adult supernatural series “Storytellers,” which Gallagher directed and Wormser produced.
Paul, List, Gallagher and Greene are repped by UTA. Paul is managed by the Collective; List is managed by Untitled Entertainment; and Gallagher is managed by Management 360. Kids at Play are repped by Principato-Young Entertainment and UTA.
More info is available at the film’s official website.
Watch a teaser clip with Logan and List for “The Thinning”: